organization

30 Days Of Blogging: Setting Myself Up For Success

Starting today, I’m taking 20 people through 30 Days of Blogging, our first ever ‘virtual’ program. The idea is we are going to blog every day. While blogging, we’ll be learning about connecting with other bloggers, marketing our blogs, and more. Here is what I am doing to get started on this. (And if you are a Type A control freak who wants to get ready to blog daily for a month too, here’s what you can do to think ahead.)

Me and my first blog notebook, which I still have. Get something like this for you to write blog ideas, put clippings from magazines, or otherwise collect inspiration for your blog (a virtual version of this is cool too).

Me and my first blog notebook, which I still have. Get something like this for you to write blog ideas, put clippings from magazines, or otherwise collect inspiration for your blog (a virtual version of this is cool too).

Access information in an accessible place

Most people don’t start blogging because they feel like maintaining a website then fall in love with the writing part… it’s usually the other way around.

To keep yourself from saying ‘Ahh!’ too much, make yourself a computer document (or put on a regular piece of paper) the website address where you log into your blog, your username and password, and the link to your blog itself. If you are a bit forgetful, in this same place have a step-by-step on how to write an blog entry, upload a photo, etc. You will probably refer to this a lot the first couple weeks but won’t need it much after that since you’ll be in the habit. (My mom keeps a small notebook on her desk when she learns a new computer trick. And here at Breaking Even we make how-to documents for ourselves as much as for our clients. In other words, even if you aren’t blogging, this isn’t a bad idea to do!)

For now, keep your technology frustration to its lowest possible point by understanding how to sign into your blog and write entries.



Dedicated place/time to write daily

This is kind of a stupid one but trust me, this is key at the beginning. As you get addicted (in a good way) to writing your blog, you won’t need the motivation. But finding 1/2 hour a day that you can write and a spot you feel like plopping in for that moment in time is key. For this blog challenge, I plan on doing it at 7 am every morning (I’m up at 5:30 so by then I feel awake and everything). Nighttime or your lunch hour at work might be better times for you. But make an appointment with yourself and don’t let anything get in its way. This is just 30 days.



A list of ideas for when you are stuck

You will think of blog ideas in the weirdest places: in line at the grocery store, while waiting for your friend at a restaurant, lots of others. Keep a notepad with you or write them in your smartphone… but have a central place where they all get put. This central place may be a pretty notebook or a Google Doc called ‘Blog Post Ideas’.  Trust me when I say you will want that nugget on a day when you feel less inspired.

2-3 blog posts ready to go

What, I’m thinking of failure already? Not exactly. There is going to be a day when you blog time is interrupted by something outside of your control. (Darn that life!). It’s good to have a few entries ready to go (most blog software will let you schedule the post to go online on a certain day at a certain time). When I say have the blog entry ready to go, I mean don’t just write it in a word processing program: put it in your blog software, have the image or images you want to use picked out and resized, check the spelling and otherwise have it ready to go. Then all you have to do is click ‘Publish’ (or if it’s scheduled ahead of time for a busy day, do nothing) and your blog will go on.

Alright, are you ready? We are!


Marketing Monday: Working With Creative People

Every Monday, I profile a business, person, or website doing neat things online. I thought I’d take a little break from the usual format and talk about something I see a lot: business owners working with the creative people they hire: webdesigners, writers, graphic artists, internet marketers, etc.

Admittedly, I’m somewhere in between. I do creative services for people but I feel like I also do a lot of organization of creative people to keep things moving forward too. Here’s what I’ve learned over the last couple years:

1. You might not know exactly what you need but be as specific as you can with what you do know. There is a reason you’re hiring someone to create a logo, a website, a painting, or anything really: You don’t know much about it or you don’t have the time/interest to do it yourself if you do. Creative people understand this.

That said, to get the best quote possible, be up front with what you do know: budgets, other players on the project, and deadlines are all helpful. It’ll keep the person from doing something embarrassing like bring up the name of a rival company or time wasting, like generating a quote for a project four times your actual budget.

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This Week In Business: The I Have The Power Edition

It’s been an interesting two weeks in the life of my company. The highlight (ok low point but viewed in an optimistic way) was when I took down my own website for about 12 hours last week.

Apparently, I am tech savvy (but I guess in this case, more tech un-afraid) enough to do semi-powerful things, like take my site down. Please note clients reading this: I would never do this kind ofexperimental behavioron your sites.

With a few frantic phone calls and text messages to people smarter than me, all eventually became right in the world. But these two weeks, I feel like not only have I had enough power to do some damage but to actually make some real headway in a few directions. Here’s what else has been going on:

I planned and executed my first solo workshop for Downeast Learning.

My friend Matt and I are on month three of our monthly technology workshops, which we’re branding as Downeast Learning. Matt is on vacation so I thought for the first solo workshop, I’d tackle Facebook for Business. This is a topic I’m pretty comfortable with, or so I thought as I started planning the slides.

It’s funny when you have to teach something how much more about it you have to learn. Those times where you have to do something ‘just good enough’ and think ‘I’ll look it up later’. And it was finally time to try all the ideas I’ve wanted to do on my own Facebook business page, or at the very least think about step by step how I would do them.

Eleven people came and I think most everyone was pretty happy about how things went. I know I had a really fun time doing it. Based on feedback we’ve gotten, the next workshop will either be about Business Blogging or Google Analytics. If you want to sign up for email alerts when we have these sort of events, go to www.downeastlearning.com.

I wrote my second largest proposal.

It’s always interesting to get an RFP from a potential client, especially a larger business or organization. So much potential yet so many ways you can mess it up if you don’t know their bottom line, who is looking at your proposal, or some other detail that could give you a bit of an edge.
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This Week In Business: Thanksgiving While Moving Edition

I haven’t had much time to write this week because I am still working my normal amount but also moving apartments on top of that. So I spent Thanksgiving packing boxes and not eating the celebratory Chinese food I planned on eating after because the restaurant was closed. Oh well!

I am now thankful for frozen burritos and an internet connection I can mooch off of from the neighbors until mine gets hooked up.

I have managed to accomplish a few things this week, aside from not breaking any glassware…yet.

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